[linux-elitists] Closed Source Tests damage careers, schoolchildren

Ben Woodard ben@valinux.com
Tue May 22 09:36:52 PDT 2001

Quite honestly, I think for cases like this have an open bug tracking
system in this case would probably have done more to contain the
problem than having open source code. 

Knowing just a little about testing, the problem with doing an open
source implementation is that most of the problem is subjective
heuristic design rather than implementation. Inspection of the code
would likely not yeild anything. This kind of problem could only be
uncovered through testing the program through statistical models.

The real problem was that the company was trying to cover up the
problem by telling everyone "everything is OK" when it had multiple
reports of similar problems.


> On Mon, May 21, 2001 at 05:44:01PM -0400, Bulent Murtezaoglu wrote:
> > >>>>> "SL" == Ron Guerin <ron@vnetworx.net> quoting slashdot:
> >     SL> [... horror story ...]  It's a fascinating
> >     SL> story of the risks of going with a closed source vendor - how
> >     SL> the company acts to perform damage control, lies, stalls,
> >     SL> compartmentalizes the damage by telling each complainer that
> >     SL> they are the only one experiencing problems, [...]
> > 
> > I do not like the way this is presented.  Inept school administration
> > and a clearly dishonest vendor might be a dangerous combination, but
> > the same could have happened with the same inept administrators and 
> > a dishonest consulting house deploying open-source solutions.  This 
> > is a risk of being stupid and doing business with crooks, it is not 
> > a risk of going with a close source vendor.  Just IMHO, but I am
> > irritated enough to respond.  Comments?  How am I wrong?
> "A post-mortem of how this error spread unimpeded for so long lays bare
> a basic truth of standardized testing: school districts lack the ability
> to uncover serious testing errors on their own, and must rely on the
> testing companies to do so voluntarily."
> The only place I think you're wrong, is that it's not a risk related
> to closed-source.  While you can certainly find an inept open source
> vendor, you can examine the source to verify errors, or get them
> fixed.  When using a closed-source vendor, the risks you take by
> using their code are far greater.  You cannot examine the
> code, meaning you have no way to see the actual error in the code
> (or have someone else examine it for you), or have it fixed.
> You're completely at the mercy of the closed-source vendor.
> This would not be the case with open source.
> Ron
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